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More White Dwarf...

Issue 51
Dave Langford quotes Brian Aldiss as saying that 'Brian Aldiss Science Fiction Quiz' for the BBC Micro earns him more than the Helliconia series. Articles on thieves in Warhammer and religion and magic in AD&D. Loyalty, Determination, Charisma and Luck for Traveller NPCs. Letters complaining about the lack of D&D (as opposed to AD&D) scenarios and low-level AD&D scenarios. Fiend Factory has monsters from Julian May's 'Saga of the Exiles' series. And a photo of Steve Jackson (of GW) finally meeting Steve Jackson (of Steve Jackson games).

Issue 52
The first WD to be sold in newsagents celebrates with an Alan Craddock cover featuring the traditional combination of SF and fantasy elements, and the even more traditional combination of blonde female and not very many clothes. ffutures writes the first part of a beginner's guide to role-playing games. ("Bored with Ludo?") Reviews include GW's own fantasy boardgame Talisman (only 6 out of 10, unusualy for a GW in-house product) and their Car Wars rip-off Battlecars (8 out of 10). Both are better than the official 'Dragonriders of Pern' boardgame. And talking of blonde females wearing not many clothes, Thrud meets Lymara the She-Wildebeeste again. An article on immortality in Traveller, which is actually quite interesting and goes into effects on society as well as methods to achieve immortality. A low level AD&D scenarion 'The Serpent's Venom'. Praise for Garth Nix's Traveller article from Phil Masters. A new monthly column on miniatures called Tabletop Heroes, written by Lone Wolf creators Joe Dever and Gary Chalk, starts off with a look at fighter figures. The small ads include one from Wrexham Games Club. Treasure Trap LARP is now offering 'Fantasy Adventure Holidays' lasting up to a fortnight based on established fantasy novels. I can see the appeal of "Carry 'The Ring' to Mount Doom (Frodo Baggins)", but who on earth would want to spend a fortnight live role-playing as Thomas Covenant?

Issue 53
ffutures continues his beginner's guide with a look at Runequest and (in passing) some of the less popular fantasy games. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields for Warhammer (featuring a really impressive miniature of the Grond battering ram). It uses a figure ration of 1 figure representing 100 troops or 1 hero, giving a total requirement of 110 goodies and 259 baddies! Traveller Book 6: Scouts is reviewed. Dave Langford likes Asimov's 'The Robots of Dawn' and Diana Wynne-Jones's 'Homeward Bounders' and says that 'The Science in SF', edited by Peter Nicholls is "essential, despite a few boobs, for Traveller fans". A new regular column on Car Wars by Steve Jackson (the one who created Car Wars, not the Games Workshop one). Small ads include Dave Langford selling copies of his own book on military hardware ("Ideal for Travellers"). Larger advert for Micro Adventurer magazine, a computer games magazine dedicated to adventure games, which I remember getting occasionally.

Issue 54
Big colour advert for GW's new superhero RPG 'Golden Heroes'. I remember playing this a few times. Ian Livingstone's editorial mentions the first accusations from British christians that role-playing games are evil. Articles on logic in campaigns and barbarians in Runequest. ffutures's beginner's guide considers Traveller, and the lesser SF RPGs. A review of one of my favourite Traveller scenarions, Adventure 11: Murder on Arcturus Station. The reviewer liked it, but commented that it required a lot of work on the part of the referee. True, but then I rarely run published scenarios as is anyway. Dave Langford hasn't enjoyed his month's reading - Hubbard's 'Battlefield Earth' traumatising him so much that he was unable to review 'Heretics of Dune', despite that being the book featured in the illustration. He loathed Battlefield Earth ("truly appalling") and devotes much of his column to ranting about it. Thrud kills a beast that "the legends say...cannot be harmed by the hand of mortal man" by simply kicking it. Someone misses the point in the letters page "Why, oh why, did you keep the first ten pages for advertisments? It seemed such a waste of good space when you could have printed some articles." Dave Langford writes in pointing out that writing articles about monsters from published fiction is probably a breach of copyright.

Issue 55
An advert proclaiming that the Games Centre on Oxford Street in London is now the Virgin Games Centre. I would later work for the Oxford Virgin Games Centre. Meanwhile Ian Livingstone reports that TSR are shedding 150 jobs. ffutures covers superhero, horror, post-holocaust and spy RPGs. Review of a selection of AD&D modules, including the original 'Ravenloft'. Highest praise is reserved for X5 - 'Temple of Death' - "I have not seen a better D&D scenario than this...10 out of 10". The boardgame Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective also gets a very good review. Someone writes to complain that there are now more Runequest articles than Traveller ones. ffutures has an article on variant universes in Traveller with stuff like curved space and wormholes. Page 48 proudly shows the ten bestselling paperbacks in the UK at the time - Ian Livingstone's 'Deathtrap Dungeon' is 8th, in between Dick Francis and Stephen King. John le Carre's 'The Little Drummer Girl' is top.


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Jul. 16th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)

Issue 56
Ian Livingstone announces that GW will produce a Judge Dredd RPG and a Doctor Who RPG. An article on ninja in RPGs. Dave Langford has a foul cold, and blames L Ron Hubbard. He likes Jack Vance's 'Lyonesse', though feels that compared to that author's 'Dying Earth', it "falls a bit flat". He also reports the results of a fanpoll at the Tynecon II convention: Best SF authors: Wolfe, Aldiss, Priest, Dick...Worst: Asimov, Heinlein, Brunner, Hubbard, Fanthorpe...Most pretentious: Brunner, Watson, Delaney, Ellison, Donaldson...Most sexist: Heinlein, Norman, Copper, Russ, Pournelle. Ignoring Dave Langford's warning in issue 54 is a big article about using David Eddings's 'The Belgariad' for AD&D ("...it is almost ready-made as a D&D campaign world"). 'The Last Log' is a Call of Cthulhu adventure set on an alien planet (not at all like a Traveller scenario set in the Mountains of Madness...). It is illustrated with a nice 15mm scale diorama featuring a very nicely-painted Space 1999 Eagle by Dinky. Tabletop Heroes looks at SF miniatures, including some 25mm Traveller space marines by Grenadier. Quite difficult to get hold of now (i.e. I don't own them...). Big colour advert for TSR's big new AD&D campaign 'Dragonlance'. An article on technology in AD&D is illustrated by a nice drawing of a cloaked hero showing off his new wristwatch to a pair of amazed skeletons. Review of the Spectrum game 'Psytron' (9 out of 10). I had this game, and in fact the box is part of a piece of artwork I made a few years back using old computer game boxes which currently hangs in our games room. The news page also mentions the same company's upcoming 'The Lords of Midnight', one of my all-time favourite computer games. The back page has an advert for the first Citadel Colour paint set. I had one of these (and in fact only threw it away a couple of months ago. Far better than other paints for figure painting.

Issue 57
Big advert for GW's UK edition of Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game. This game was a perfect example of how, no matter how big the license, and how obvious the game would be to convert into an RPG, a game won't succeed if it isn't supported by supplements and scenarios. Reviews of Mayfair's D&D supplements 'Elves', 'Dwarves' and not so politically-correctly titled 'Dark Folk'. Also, more importantly, one of the greatest published RPG scenarios ever - 'The Traveller Adventure' ("a superb campaign" 9 out of 10). Probably not quite so good is the issue's Traveller scenario 'Sky Rig', although it is nicely illustrated. More on ninjas. AD&D scenario 'The Sunfire's Heart' has placenames very obviously derived by flicking through 'A Complete Guide to Middle-earth' and stopping at a random name. Yet more copyright-infringing monsters, this time based on Robert Silverberg's 'Lord Valentine's Castle' and 'Majipoor Chronicles'.

Jul. 16th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Issue 58
Cover is unmistakably Chris Achilleos. His stuff for WD generally being much better than his Target Doctor Who covers. Ian Livingstone reports that Avalon Hill will now produce RuneQuest, will sell it for £40 in the UK and have taken the license off GW. A review of MERP and the Star Trek RPG (both 9 out of 10). "The main problem with Star Trek is that many RPG'ers have grown up with D&D or Traveller and are anti-social paranoid psychotics who slash / shoot first and (maybe) ask questions later." What kind of Traveller campaigns has he been playing in? Good stuff for Langford to review - he likes Gregory Benford's hard-SF 'Across the Sea of Suns' and loves Robert Holdstock's 'Mythago Wood' ("...deserves all manner of awards"). We actually had this entire trilogy at SwapFrag and precisely nobody wanted it. We then tried to eBay it and precisely nobody bid on it. Maybe I should read it myself. Strange pair of adverts saying firstly "The computer game is dead..." and then "Long live Eureka! (by Ian Livingstone). Eureka would be published by Domark, which later became Tomb Raider and Championship Manager publisher Eidos, or which Livingstone would become chairman. More ninja. A good article on role-playing after death, which fits in somewhat with the book I am currently reading (Ursula le Guin's 'The Other Wind', the fifth Earthsea book). Quite a lot of criticism of Tabletop Heroes in the letters page - all of which I disagree with. I really liked this column - it's definitely what got me into miniature painting.

Issue 59
My favourite Dave Langford quote, reviewing Tolkien's 'Book of Lost Tales II' - "Would Tolkien himself, with his marvellous ear for names, have wanted the world to know that back in 1917 he perpetrated things like an elf caled Tinfang Warble?". Langford also review's William Gibson's 'Neuromancer' - "...the reader never gets a rest and can't see the plot for the dazzle". Yet more ninja stuff. Double decker buses for Car Wars. Part 1 of a major series on making magic items in AD&D. Big advert for the cartoon RPG 'Toon' "developed by Warren Spector". Spector of course is now one of the gods of computer game design http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_spector .
Jul. 16th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)

Issue 60
Games of Liverpool's advert on page 5 has a photo of the Grenadier 'War Mammoth of the Undead Legion' minature. I bought this miniature and it forms the centrepiece of a diorama I made and painted that is currently on display in my living room. Ian Livingstone reports that the price of the raw metal for minatures has tripled, and wonders how this will affect minature makers. Dave Langford likes Alan Lee and David Day's 'Castles' (I did too, and remember buying it on a school trip once). Reviews include 'Dragons of Despair', the first Dragonlance scenario "...heavily based on Lord of the Rings", but "8 out of 10". Big advert for the sequel to 'Lords of Midnight' on the Spectrum - 'Doomdark's Revenge'. This probably counts as my favourite Spectrum game. It's creator, Mike Singleton would later become an audit client of mine at my old firm. Nice guy, although I remember spending almost as much time chatting to him about Midnight and Doomdark as I did auditing. Lords of Midnight reviewed this issue, and was unlucky to only get 9 in my opinion.

Issue 61
Reviews of the D&D Companion set (for 15th level characters), the horror RPG Chill and TSR’s officially-licensed Indiana Jones RPG. This is the game that featured 25mm scale cardboard figures labelled as “NAZI ™”. In a rare appearance of ‘proper literature’ in WD, Dave Langford reviews Umberto Eco’s ‘The Name of the Rose’ – “The chapters about mapping the mysterious library / maze are quite the most D&D-like stuff ever to appear in a ‘respectable’ novel.” The awful D&D cartoon series has appeared prompting an appalled letter from someone called Nigel.

Issue 62
An article on adventuring in sewers by Garth Nix. Dave Langford pans Douglas Adams’s ‘So Long and Thanks for all the Fish’. GW’s ‘Golden Heroes’ and TSR’s ‘Marvel Super Heroes’ RPGs are reviewed. Not altogether surprisingly, WD thinks the GW product is better. Parrying in AD&D (a pretty pointless article). The superb Traveller scenario ‘An Alien Werewolf in London’ (Traveller + time travel = Jack the Ripper). Crawling Chaos is a new bi-monthly Cthulhu column.
Jul. 17th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
The superb Traveller scenario ‘An Alien Werewolf in London’ (Traveller + time travel = Jack the Ripper).

I remember that. It was, indeed, excellent.

The awful D&D cartoon series

I don't remember that, although I do remember both "Thrud" and "The Travellers".

Thrud meets Lymara the She-Wildebeeste again


"Would Tolkien himself, with his marvellous ear for names, have wanted the world to know that back in 1917 he perpetrated things like an elf caled Tinfang Warble?"

Yep, remember that too.

Yet more copyright-infringing monsters, this time based on Robert Silverberg's 'Lord Valentine's Castle' and 'Majipoor Chronicles'.

And those.
Jul. 17th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)
"The awful D&D cartoon series"

"I don't remember that"

You were lucky:
Jul. 17th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, that one. I had forgotten that; but I somehow thought you meant a comic in White Dwarf.
Jul. 16th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure Aldiss deserved to earn all that much for the Helliconia series. I never took the science fiction quiz so I can't comment there.
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